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Last Updated: Friday, 30 May, 2003, 11:45 GMT 12:45 UK
Prince William learns Swahili
Prince William on the pier at St Andrews
William is continuing the family links with Kenya
Britain's Prince William has said that he is learning to speak Swahili.

The prince, the eldest son of Prince Charles and the late Diana Princess of Wales, said he was teaching himself the language because of his love of Africa.

"I've got a book and a book-tape... I have them in my room and they're collecting dust quite rapidly but I am trying to make progress," he said.

He is planning to do environmental work in Africa when he leaves St Andrews University, instead of the traditional royal career in the military, he says.

Almost 50 million people in eastern and central Africa speak Swahili.


William spent part of his gap year before going to university in Swahili-speaking Kenya and Tanzania. He also went to Botswana.

I hope I'm not a tourist attraction

The Times of London reports that his great-great-aunt Princess Alice, 101 also learnt Swahili during a year-long stay in Kenya.

"It's an odd language to learn but I wanted to do something that was very specialised. I love the people of Africa and I'd like to know more about them - and to speak to them."

The theme of his 21st birthday party at Windsor Castle next month is reported to be "Out of Africa".

William's grandmother Queen Elizabeth was in Kenya when she learnt that her father George VI had died and she would accede to the throne.

The BBC's Jennie Bond
"These pictures are a far cry from the nervous teenager who was deposited at university two years ago"

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